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Many people assume post-traumatic stress syndrome is a condition that only occurs with veterans. However, this disorder also affects many nurses, paramedics, doctors and other health care professionals. Working in hospitals and clinical settings where there is much exposure to trauma and stress makes medical professionals more susceptible to developing PTSD than people in many other occupations.
Many of those professionals who suffer from the condition may not know it. Others may be aware that they have it but are afraid to speak up because of how their coworkers may treat them. Untreated, post-traumatic stress can lead to the development of chronic health issues, diminished work performance and a toxic work environment. Health care professionals who develop post-traumatic stress from working at their jobs may qualify for workers’ compensation, and so should know the signs to watch for.
Mood swings, anxiety, unwanted memories, memory loss and depression are all symptoms. Nurses, doctors and other medical professionals may also develop detachment issues and negative feelings about themselves and others after dealing with patients who have serious illnesses and injuries, and from working in environments where there are elevated levels of stress, hazards and toxic work behavior.
Physically, the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder can manifest as restlessness, insomnia, anger, poor concentration and aggressive behavior. It also increases stress on the neurological, respiratory, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems and can lead to self-destructive behavior.
Although medical professionals see and deal with traumatic situations and are under a great deal of stress to perform their job duties every day, they may not develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome right away. It can take months, weeks or years for them to develop. Some people do not end up with the condition at all, but those who do may need to undergo treatment to recover.
Severe cases of PTSD can make it hard for medical professionals to perform their job duties or even live and function normally. They may need time off from work and treatment to recover. Those possibly suffering from post-traumatic stress because of their job should speak to an attorney to learn their options for obtaining relief and compensation.